Many managers look upon conflict as something that should be avoided or, if it happens, should “go away” as quickly as possible. However, conflict also has the potential to expose reality and, becuase of this, has the potential to be a new source of information that can be used to adapt your strategy.
Think back to the early days of just-in-time inventory management. There was plenty of conflict over whether or not we could run a manufacturing operation with minimal inventory. But it was discussed and we found that we could, in fact, rethink the role of inventory in running a manufacturing company. The conflict exposed a new reality.
Think about today and some of the generational conflict over the use of technology. Us old guys want to send lengthy e-mail messages; “the kids” feel that a Tweet is fine. Who’s going to win? It doesn’t make any difference — the discussion will cause us to rethink the ways we communicate in buisness.
Got conflict in your organization?? Great — use it as a basis to rethink your reality. Have fun.